San Diego-based GovTV is using a Broadcast Pix BPswitch MX integrated production switcher to provide turnkey live remote video production of official meetings for the city of Lancaster, Calif. The city is GovTV’s first client to use a new IP-based workflow operated from about 170 miles away at the company’s offices.
GovTV is owned by Pacific Design and Integration (PDI), a full-service systems integrator with extensive experience in broadcast, houses of worship, and government projects; GovTV provides live government broadcast as a service. When PDI acquired GovTV in 2015, it inherited a production platform based around a serial control system that, while functional, had issues with internet connectivity and latency that delayed camera control and switching.
“We made it work,” recalled Bob Anderson, president and CEO of GovTV, “but we were always looking for something that would be more of an IP system.”
GovTV developed a new workflow last year built around the BPswitch. The company launched its new system for Lancaster at end of December, and quickly received positive feedback from city personnel.
“Now, we can instantly cut to the person speaking, so there’s no need to go to a wide shot when we’re following a conversation,” Anderson said. “It’s made a huge difference for us and exceeded our expectations.”
Master control is housed in San Diego. According to Steve Sagday, CTO of GovTV, operators use a traditional Broadcast Pix control surface to switch the live meetings, and can also control and monitor client productions through the Broadcast Pix Commander browser-based user interface. A dedicated VPN connects GovTV to its client, allowing system and robotic camera control (as well as seamless insertion into live programming) from San Diego. BPNet, BPswitch’s integrated cloud-based video workflow service, provides a virtual backup to the VPN.
The city of Lancaster operates LTV, a PEG channel on Spectrum Cable and AT&T that is also streamed by Granicus. LTV programming is played out on a Leightronix Nexus, which allows GovTV to cut into the channel remotely from San Diego with live meetings. The BPswitch mainframe, located in Lancaster, has dedicated inputs for five cameras connected via SDI, plus an electronic voting system, scan converter to display PC-based PowerPoint presentations, and a dedicated video calling system for Skype. The system operates in 1080i HD with SD downconversion for the cable feeds.
The new system also utilizes BPswitch’s integrated NewBlueNTX multi-layer 3D motion graphics, along with BPfusion software for template-based CG creation, to display agenda items and lower-thirds. “We’re really surprised at the flexibility we have,” added Sagday. “Broadcast Pix is making it more cost effective and efficient for our clients.”
With the Lancaster launch deemed a success, GovTV is now looking to aggressively grow its business with its BPswitch IP-based workflow model. “We take government entities out of the broadcast business and allow them to fully focus on the business of government,” said Anderson. “We have confidence this system is viable and we won’t have latency issues like we did in the past.”